EMA

What is EMA?

Education Maintenance Allowance is a weekly allowance of £30 to help 16, 17, 18 and 19 year olds with the costs of further education.

Payments are made every two weeks as long as you continue to meet your school or college’s attendance requirements.

There are also two performance based bonuses of £100 normally paid out in January & June.

Getting EMA won’t affect any benefits you or your family already receive.

Can I get EMA?

You need to meet the following requirements to be able to get EMA:

Age

Your 16th, 17th, 18th or 19th birthday falls on or between 2 July 2016 and 1 July 2017 and you are starting or continuing in further education from September 2017

Course

You attend an approved school or college in Northern Ireland. This must be full-time at school or a minimum of 15 guided hours per week at college, studying an eligible course and attending all classes.

Nationality and residency

If you are a UK citizen who normally lives in the UK you should be able to get EMA. If you’re not a UK citizen you may still be able to get EMA, go to www.nidirect.gov.uk for more information.

Household income

The table below shows how much you can get based on your household income.

Annual Household Income Weekly EMA entitlement
£20,500 or less £30
Between £20,501 and £22,500 and there’s at least one other dependant eligible for child benefit in your household, other than you. £30
Between £20,501 and £22,500 and there are no other dependants eligible for child benefit in your household, other than you. £0
£22,501 or more £0

We’ll ask for information and evidence of your household income as part of your application. We’ll need this information from each person that you normally live with (apart from any adult brothers or sisters you might have).

You won’t be able to get EMA if you’ve been approved to receive a Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Bursary or a Department for the Economy Further Education Award.

Do you already get EMA?

You don’t need to do anything, we’ll contact you in Spring about your EMA for 2017/18.

Applying

How do I apply?

You need to complete an application form.

You’ll be able to get one from:

  • Your school or college
  • nidirect.gov.uk
  • your local Jobs and Benefits Office
  • Careers Service Northern Ireland

When do I apply?

Application forms will be available from Spring 2017. You should return your application form as soon as possible, as far in advance of your course start date and no later than 31 March 2018.

Keep an eye on www.nidirect.gov.uk for updates about when to apply.

30 September 2017 – To be eligible for backdated payments, to the start of term, you must apply before this date.
31 March 2018 – We must receive your application before this date for you to be eligible for EMA in the academic year 2017/18.
31 August 2018 – You must have completed your application, sending all information and evidence, before this date for you to be eligible for EMA in academic year 2017/18.

 

What happens next

You need to complete and return your EMA application form with the evidence we need.
If you can’t send the evidence we need right away, return your form without it. We won’t be able to pay you until we get the evidence but this way we can make a start on your application earlier.
We’ll assess your application and send you an Award Letter.
If we need further information or evidence to complete our assessment we’ll contact you before you get your Award Letter.
You need to sign Part 1 and Part 2 of your Learning Agreement with your school or college.
Part 1 – This part sets out the acceptable attendance for your course. You’ll commit to attending the timetable defined by your school or college.
Part 2 – This part sets out the learning objective and goals that you must achieve to be eligible for bonus payments.
Your school or college need to tell us that you’ve been in attendance before we’ll pay your EMA into your bank or building society account.

Getting Paid

All EMA payments will be paid directly into a bank or building society account in your name.

If you haven’t already got an account set up in your name, you should do so while you apply for EMA.

Before we can make any payments to you:

  • You must agree and sign both parts of your Learning Agreement with your school or college; and
  • Your school or college must tell us you have been in attendance.

What if I have someone to help manage my finances?

EMA is awarded to you, so we pay it directly to you. However if you have someone who’s authorised to look after your finances for you we’ll ask for more information and evidence for this as part of your application.

What if my circumstances change?

You need to tell us straight away if any of your details change, including;

  • If your bank details change
  • If your contact details change
  • If your household income changes
  • If you change school or college

Contact

You can get in touch with us by calling 0300 200 7089 or by emaWhat is EMA?

Education Maintenance Allowance is a weekly allowance of £30 to help 16, 17, 18 and 19 year olds with the costs of further education.

Payments are made every two weeks as long as you continue to meet your school or college’s attendance requirements.

There are also two performance based bonuses of £100 normally paid out in January & June.

Getting EMA won’t affect any benefits you or your family already receive.

Can I get EMA?

You need to meet the following requirements to be able to get EMA:

Age

Your 16th, 17th, 18th or 19th birthday falls on or between 2 July 2016 and 1 July 2017 and you are starting or continuing in further education from September 2017

Course

You attend an approved school or college in Northern Ireland. This must be full-time at school or a minimum of 15 guided hours per week at college, studying an eligible course and attending all classes.

Nationality and residency

If you are a UK citizen who normally lives in the UK you should be able to get EMA. If you’re not a UK citizen you may still be able to get EMA, go to www.nidirect.gov.uk for more information.

Household income

The table below shows how much you can get based on your household income.

Annual Household Income Weekly EMA entitlement
£20,500 or less £30
Between £20,501 and £22,500 and there’s at least one other dependant eligible for child benefit in your household, other than you. £30
Between £20,501 and £22,500 and there are no other dependants eligible for child benefit in your household, other than you. £0
£22,501 or more £0

We’ll ask for information and evidence of your household income as part of your application. We’ll need this information from each person that you normally live with (apart from any adult brothers or sisters you might have).

You won’t be able to get EMA if you’ve been approved to receive a Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Bursary or a Department for the Economy Further Education Award.

Do you already get EMA?

You don’t need to do anything, we’ll contact you in Spring about your EMA for 2017/18.

Applying

How do I apply?

You need to complete an application form.

You’ll be able to get one from:

  • Your school or college
  • nidirect.gov.uk
  • your local Jobs and Benefits Office
  • Careers Service Northern Ireland

When do I apply?

Application forms will be available from Spring 2017. You should return your application form as soon as possible, as far in advance of your course start date and no later than 31 March 2018.

Keep an eye on www.nidirect.gov.uk for updates about when to apply.

30 September 2017 – To be eligible for backdated payments, to the start of term, you must apply before this date.
31 March 2018 – We must receive your application before this date for you to be eligible for EMA in the academic year 2017/18.
31 August 2018 – You must have completed your application, sending all information and evidence, before this date for you to be eligible for EMA in academic year 2017/18.

 

What happens next

You need to complete and return your EMA application form with the evidence we need.
If you can’t send the evidence we need right away, return your form without it. We won’t be able to pay you until we get the evidence but this way we can make a start on your application earlier.
We’ll assess your application and send you an Award Letter.
If we need further information or evidence to complete our assessment we’ll contact you before you get your Award Letter.
You need to sign Part 1 and Part 2 of your Learning Agreement with your school or college.
Part 1 – This part sets out the acceptable attendance for your course. You’ll commit to attending the timetable defined by your school or college.
Part 2 – This part sets out the learning objective and goals that you must achieve to be eligible for bonus payments.
Your school or college need to tell us that you’ve been in attendance before we’ll pay your EMA into your bank or building society account.

Getting Paid

All EMA payments will be paid directly into a bank or building society account in your name.

If you haven’t already got an account set up in your name, you should do so while you apply for EMA.

Before we can make any payments to you:

  • You must agree and sign both parts of your Learning Agreement with your school or college; and
  • Your school or college must tell us you have been in attendance.

What if I have someone to help manage my finances?

EMA is awarded to you, so we pay it directly to you. However if you have someone who’s authorised to look after your finances for you we’ll ask for more information and evidence for this as part of your application.

What if my circumstances change?

You need to tell us straight away if any of your details change, including;

  • If your bank details change
  • If your contact details change
  • If your household income changes
  • If you change school or college

Contact

You can get in touch with us by calling 0300 200 7089 or by emailing ema_ni@slc.co.uk